Sunday, 22 December 2013

Pistachio and almond cake with cranberries

So, you need a last minute Christmas cake?  You want something that will keep for days in a tin so it’s available when anyone decides they have digested a suitable amount of sausagemeat stuffing to have space for a slither of cake? You don’t have any time to decorate or beautify your baking?  Here’s your recipe!

It’s hard to imagine how a cake could look any more naturally Christmassy than this one – the cranberry and pistachio topping is a feast of festive colour and the sponge, made predominantly with ground nuts rather than flour, means it gets better and better with age. And it tastes delicious – I should mention that too!

Now, I can’t promise this because I haven’t tried it, but the recipe only uses 50g of flour – I suspect you could replace that with 50g more of ground almonds and make it gluten free.  Happy to hear any thoughts or comments on that idea.

This cake looks like a lot of work has gone into it, but it takes only about 10 minutes to get it oven-ready.  When I put the cranberries on top I thought it looked like an awful lot of berries but they bake down so don’t panic!

I served the cake at room temperature with some thick cream, but it would also be lovely served warm as dessert with cream, custard or ice cream.  So many options!  It might have come late in the year but this would easily make my top 3 cakes of the year – it is that good!

Wishing all my lovely readers a wonderful Christmas – eat, drink and be merry...but most of all eat cake!


For the cake:
125g shelled pistachios – must be unsalted!
250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
250g caster sugar
4 eggs
100g ground almonds
50g plain flour

For the topping:
200g cranberries – I used fresh, but if you use frozen make sure they are fully defrosted
3 tablespoons caster sugar
25g shelled pistachios (unsalted), roughly chopped


Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan oven 170°C/375°F/ Gas mark 5.

Line a 20cm round springform cake tin with baking paper.

Blitz the pistachios in a processor until they are finely ground (and look like a green version of the ground almonds!).  Put to one side.

Beat together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.  Don’t skimp on this stage as it’s the only opportunity to get air into the cake.

Beat in the eggs one at a time.

Fold in the ground pistachios, almonds and flour.

Spoon the batter into the prepared tin and level the surface.

Toss the cranberries in the sugar and scatter over the top of the cake.  It will look like a lot of sugar but don’t worry – the berries will remain a little tart.

Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

As soon as the cake comes out the oven, scatter the roughly chopped pistachios over the top and very gently press into the cake.  (If you put the pistachios on before baking they will lose their lovely greenness.) Don't worry if the nuts don't press in, as the cake cools and releases the nutty oils it will naturally becomes a bit sticky and hold them in place.

Leave to cool for 30 minutes before removing the tin and leaving the cake to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container and it will keep for several days – the high nut content means it will stay lovely and moist.

Serve with a cup of tea or warm for dessert.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.



Gloria Baker said...

soooo pretty! I lve the mix of pistachios and cranberries and look delicious too:)
Merry Christmas!!

Maggie said...

Oh how lovely CC - not everyone likes Christmas Cake and if the cake is a keeper so much the better. Happy Christmas!

Kezia said...

This is such a beautiful cake and looks like a gorgeous alternative to traditional xmas cake! I'm a bit in love with cranberries at the moment, so I will definitely be trying this recipe:)

Baking Addict said...

This looks amazing and if it's in your top 3 cakes then I REALLY have to try it. In fact, I may try it tomorrow as I was looking for a quick and easy last minute xmas cake for work. Happy Christmas! :)

Jo said...

I love the bright colour of all the cranberries. Low faff big flavour cakes like this are always my favourites. Wishing you a happy christmas CC!

Cakelaw said...

A fabulous cake - right up my alley. I don't have time to mess about with cake decorating.

Katie said...

That look amazing. The minute the page loaded I just thought wow. Its so festive and looks deliciously moist and nutty. Beautiful.
Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year

Izzy said...

What a wonderful Christmassy looking cake! I would much prefer a slice of this to a slice of the traditional fruit cake! Merry Christmas!

Sally Sellwood said...

This looks utterly delicious - much more my sort of cake than the traditional fruit cake (which I bake and tolerate because of the capacity fo marzipan). Anything this full of ground almonds can only be a good thing. Great work!

Kate@whatkatebaked said...

How gloriously festive! Such a pretty cake. Have a Very happy christmas!

Kimberly said...

Oh my godness! Iwould like to have that with my latte.
Merry Christmas : )

Choclette said...

Great festive cake with the red and green and I feel pretty certain it tastes fantastic too. Cranberry upside down cake was my bake of choice this year - I made it three times and am still not entirely convinced that four times wouldn't have been better.

Charlene F said...

This is such a festive bake, looks so pretty xx

Sue said...

I tried making it without the flour (with extra almonds), and it didn't quite work - though that could be more of a comment on my baking skills than the ingrediants!
That said, everyone pronounced it delicious and went back for seconds, so far from being a failure.
I haven't given up on it though, and will try it again sometime but with something else replacing the flour.
Love the blog, loads of inspiration - thanks!!